Thursday, June 1, 2023


Full-time RVing: Keeping the peace in a small space


By Russ and Tiña De Maris

I’m not sexist — and I don’t think the “better half” is either. Nevertheless, it seems that the male of the species comes in for a larger share of criticism, particularly in regard to “good nest-keeping.” It seems the habits of men are the basis for plenty of humor in sitcoms; in the full-time RV household these can become more than just a talking point, but extend to the femur of contention.

It’s been a bitter lesson for me as the man of the RV house to learn how to keep the other half happy. Something to do with living in a small space can make the failure to cart away or put away anything not in immediate use drive her up the wall. And as dense as I am, after a while a few magazines, a pair of shoes and an empty soda container can create a sense of “mess” that drives even me to distraction. If this can happen to folks with slide-outs, those of us who live in old-time non-sliders find the problem multiplied exponentially.

The advice of an old restaurant manager turned RVer struck a chord: “I always told my employees, ‘Never walk anywhere in here without something in your hand.’” Before heading forward to the bedroom, I now look around the rear living room to see what could be deposited there, or someplace along the way. It’s a simple case of put it away as you go.

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Of course, having “a place for everything” is critical to make all of this work. A professional organizer tells us, “The place you put something is best close to where you use the thing.” In the small confines of an RV that’s not always possible, but where you can, you’ll find it easier to put whatever it is back after use if it’s handy to you.

I like peace. Putting it away keeps the World War at bay.



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5 years ago

I purchased recently, a magic chef 1.6 cu ft top load washer, on sale at WM online for ~$220. My RARE support of that organization, but I’m sure We will need a night or two in their parking lot eventually… Have 23′ travel trailer, no walkway when slide is closed. Larger trailers, washer could be left in place, likely. I am putting it on the couch while traveling. Right now, tub is used for other items, but now that I have a washer I can downsize the extra clothes carried to be able to only do laundry as full-loads at laundromat. And washer will go into tub if needed. New tshirts are now either blue, gray, or white, eliminating our need to do small loads of many colors. Amazing little machine, has a few cycle options. Bc tub was taken, and there was finite time after arrival at campsite at 10p to get it done, I let it drain into a utility wastecan, then dumped the can. When set up correctly, will be able to leave it running and go away. But the trailer doesn’t have an electrical outlet near tub, and drain hose won’t reach from outside bathroom. I don’t care!!! I do the laundry, and it s making life on the road easier…so much more enjoyable, and less stressful! Can do laundry while cooking , and get a little tv time. trifecta! Make out in the crockpot, in an emergency in the electric fry pan, and jar it, for quick heat up on the stove, for lunches for the drive. 1/2-1/3 capacity of home washer. About 7 gallons water used for full load, then rinse, so off grid isn’t feasible to use if cannot have water tank refill. But on the road, I find that We have several smaller loads anyway, costing a fortune at laundromat. Dry things right now on a folding rack, and also have a portable rack for hanging clothes on hangers on 3-Arms that fold out, can put both outside if desire. The reviews were correct, it is a great little machine, I leave the styrofoam barrel insert in so travel and moving jostling doesn’t ruin the machine…..and yes it came dented…probably the one returned by a reviewer!. The store mgr gave me a 10% discount via gift card at my request (paid online was via a credit card and can’t give a purchase credit to the cc at store if not paid at store). It fits in tub, closet if I put a step shelf over the little utility hump that is a part of closet floor. Doesn’t fit tub faucet tho’. Fits sinks. Using only 1 hose, and I adjust the water temp at faucet for the load, but leave the washer temp on cold. 30″ or so tall, fits next to slide when open, under tv area w/o obstructing. Now am looking at a 1cu ft dryer, but as long as in good weather (cotton, linen– shorts, tshirts) it can wait. When camping with full hookup, even just for a night, plan to arrive early just to do laundry. $15 for a PA FHU site, saved me $7-8 at laundromat to wash our 2 loads of t-shirts, & hand towels/washcloths, whites. Seems like a lot of work, but the laundry dried while we slept and mostly was put away in the morning, and the heavier linens dried the rest if the way while we drove 10 hours. Am working at destinations, so more laundry for work outfits than while vacationing. Talk about cluttered! But, were pleased with the progressive uncluttering and try to find more ways to do so. As we’re learning and practicing, we’re able to eliminate a bit more…want a Class C, this trailer is not really fit to our needs,…but the crockpot and electric fry pan, and now washer, are here to stay!

5 years ago
Reply to  Terry

Hehehe, darn autocorrect …supposed to say ‘make SOUP in the crockpot ( from scratch)’…

Mary Ihla
6 years ago

This has been one of the few negatives of our recent 3-month experience of living in a motorhome. I was constantly harping at my husband to put things away WHERE THEY BELONG. I could tolerate his clutter and mess in our sticks-and-bricks, but not in such a confined space. There is, however, a positive side to living in a small space — when you misplace something, there are only a few places to look.

6 years ago

I read your laundry issue, but wanted to suggest another alternative, namely mini washing machines or even washer/dryer combos. The most common brand is Panda. Even the combos easily fit in a shower (they vary but approximately 25 w by 25 h by 15 deep and under 25 pounds. The washing machine can double as the laundry bag and they are so convenient the fact that one needs to do a load more often isn’t a problem.

The only downside s the dryer just uses centrifugal force so either 1) the clothing needs another hour or so do be fully dry or 2) one can buy small dryers (like a bit plastic bag with a hair dryer like attachment).

Only one warning, (leave your gray water outlet open. The one time I forgot that was the day after cooking curry which left me with an orange tinged shower basis.

5 years ago
Reply to  Karen

Close the drain in the tub, which is usually the lowest point and will see backup first.

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